Saturday, March 31, 2018

Night, Night Farm | Book Review

Cute cartoon animals illustrate the pages of this book as the reader explores the farm, making animal sounds, and telling them all goodnight. It begins with an overview of the farm then travels to say goodnight to the pigs, cows, horses, cats, sheep, chickens, and mice. I have to say that I loved the two little mice who scampered across the pages of this book.

The rhyme is catchy and easy to read, though a few of the words feel a little odd and out of place—like it seems to mix proper rhyme with a sudden cutesy phrases (“Oh, the animals God has made! And hey, He made me too!” for exam

As soon as I got this in, I opened it to explore the “touch and feel” aspects. I loved the curly sheep, the smooth pig, the furry horse, fuzzy cat, and glossy hen’s comb. But then, on the second-to-last page, there was nothing to feel besides an indent on the page. I suppose I like consistency. Where the animals had a little circle to feel a “sample” of their skin, there was an embossed “car” for mice? At least, I think that was what the “feel” was supposed to be. My younger sister read it, and brought it to me with the same question, “Where is the touch-and-feel on this page?” It’s not a huge issue and doesn’t alter the reading of the book, but I can see many inquisitive toddlers running their fingers along the page disappointed.

*I received this book from Book Look Bloggers and happily provided my honest review*

Friday, March 30, 2018

"Lord, are You Sure?" (Decisions and Following God | Part 3)

In the beginning of this year, I wrote a two-part article on “Decisions and Following God” (part 1 and part 2). Since my heart-sharing today fits in with those two articles, this could almost be a completely unplanned “Part 3” of the series. Little did I know that the principles I covered in those articles would be tested in a very real way in my life. In fact, as I prepare to write this, I’m re-reading the articles and almost crying—because today I know more what it’s like to live what I wrote. Were I to write those articles today, I might add something like, “Be prepared to have your ship rocked, your world turned upside-down, your emotions a roller-coaster ride, and your heart freaking out!” Okay, so maybe not everyone responds to change the way I do. But when I wrote, “Now is a time for activesteps and changing,” my brain was gearing toward teaching piano and violin full time and becoming a “circuit teacher.” The more I prayed about those options, I sensed God honing my thoughts: I didn’t just need to pour out music, I also needed to get back into receiving music instruction so I could be better equipped to help others. The answer was completely not what I was anticipating. College.

College? Really?
As I began telling my friends and family of this decision, it made sense to them. They were all excited. Me? Oh sure, it made sense—and it excited me to so how many, many ways college was answering a lot of prayers for direction. But I was petrified. While everyone else saw all of the benefits, I highlighted all of the changes I’d have to make in my life (“I’m the girl who likes life to stay the same.”), and how many, many things I’d have to either eliminate or minimize. Because, unlike kids leaving high school and entering college, I have had ten years in which my life has been established outside of school. In fact, my world was rocked just a short four years ago, when my entire family moved from one state to another (during which, consequently, I had to leave my first set of music students behind). Two years ago we finished building our house, and since then, I had gradually been settling into a new, established life in my new location. I was finally feeling settled. So college? Now?

Even though I had written, “The first step is to save for and purchase my own vehicle. The second step may be to getsome long-distance studios set up. Or…God may change the direction after I takemy first step,” I didn’t know. College wasn’t on my radar. But, I believe without a doubt that it was on God’s. I knew change was going to happen—I just didn’t know to what extent.

In three days, my decision was made. Three days. I am not impulsive. Invite me over, and it will take me a month (or a year) to actually get there. One Saturday, I was talking to a friend casually about the college. At this point, I still wasn’t seriously thinking college, but that night, since it was all fresh on my mind, I wrote out the pros and cons to be praying about. I got on the college website to solidify a question only to see that the deadline for some paperwork was the following Friday—in six days. The next night, I talked with my parents (and found them to be fully supportive and maybe more excited than I). And on the third day, I was walking campus (a local college, just a few miles from home). That was March 5. It has taken almost the rest of March for me to actually be “okay” with the idea of college.

In this time of change, like many times before, God has brought me face-to-face with a lot of spiritual issues whose extent I didn’t even realize existed in my life. Pride has surfaced in a dozen new ways. Worry rose in my heart (Worry? I’m not a worrier! Or wasn’t…). I grappled for control of the reins. I saw the word “trust” in a new light. So many issues I thought I had victory over resurfaced (I’d gotten over being a workaholic—until I needed to do an entire Algebra book in six weeks).

In the middle of decisions and following God, life isn’t always a smooth ride. But, even in the midst of the inner turmoil I was facing, I knew. I knew that this was what God was leading me to do in this season of life. How could I be so certain, yet have such a hard time with it?

I didn’t want to let go of my life. Reworking my entire life’s schedule cost me more than what some people can even imagine (unless you’re a big planner in a finally-established life). The reality that, instead of building my music studio, I would have to drop some students, threatened to tear my heart in two. Realizing that my writing would be even more limited than it is today overwhelmed me. Not to mention that the family-time I was learning to actively attain would be interrupted by college-work. Some people say I’m just preparing for the worst. My family knows me, though. They have seen me as I’ve struggled to overcome my work-obsession and they know the temptations that I’ll face with becoming a full-time student. Words fail to articulate the flood of thoughts that have passed through my mind in the last three weeks. It all boiled down to one thing, though: surrender.

This was a new angle of surrender that I didn’t even realize was needed in my life. In fact, I didn’t even realize that surrender was the issue until this week, when I texted all of my students’ parents to notify them of my fall plans. As soon as the last parent was texted and everyone now knew (and was wholly supportive of) the change in my schedule, I felt the calm peace that I had longed to accompany the assurance God had given me. It wasn’t the action of texting the parents that did it, though. It was because, as I was texting, I was also releasing it all to God. I had surrendered the writing-time. I had communicated with my family about my concerns about our limited time together. But until the point when I texted all of my student families, I hadn’t let them go in my heart. “Teaching is my life” was close to true for me, and I had refused to honestly acknowledge that I couldn’t do college and keep every single student. Last weekend when I was talking to my sister-in-law about it, she said, “So, you’ll just have to say, ‘God, You’ve got to work this out for me.’” I actually told her, “I’m scared to do that—what if He takes away the ones I don’t want Him to?” Yes, it was an issue of surrender.

In all of this, though, there has definitely been more than struggle and challenges. There is the assurance that where God leads, He will keep me. There is the beauty of seeing answered prayers. There is the incomparable comfort of Scripture. There is the blessing of the amazing support from everyone I know. There are the prayers of others on my behalf. There is the peace in knowing that God has clearly led me to take this step. There are so many, many things for which I’m daily grateful in this season of life. It has been hard (It would be a lie to not admit it), but it has also been a beautiful season. And, as I am going through it, I have seen others who are also experiencing this “season of change”—and it makes me grateful to know that none of us are in this alone. We have each other, but above that, we have God as our guide.

Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works. Psalm 73:23-28

- - - - -
On a personal note to my blog-readers, in saying all of this, blogging may be one of the things I need to cut out. For the next month, for sure, I'm going to be doing minimal blogging as I do have that deadline in which to get Algebra done (I'm hoping to test out of remedial math so I only have to do the one college Algebra required for a music major). 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Of tea parties, music, walks and... a few words...

Last week was a busy week. My mom stayed down in Louisiana to help my grandparents, so I was in essence surrogate mom for the week (on top of teaching piano/violin and other typical week responsibilities). It was a great week--just not one for writing.

Many things seem to be coming at me as a whirlwind, so one day, I just went to the park, walked for about an hour, and called a friend that I hadn't talked to for a few months.

It was my first time at this park, and I think I'm going to definitely be revisiting!

To conclude the week, we had our homeschool tea party. This year was a vintage/retro picnic theme. I had the joy of being photographer for the event, and decided on a fun editing style--kind of bringing back the "old picture" thought.

And then, behind all of that, was writing. Writing last week was hit and miss--and more miss than hit. One thing I did write was a post for blogger Jessica--"A Day in My Life" (visit Jessica's blog)--which was kind of a crazy abnormal day (which... is about every day). It is an interesting thought, though: what is a day in your life like? I'd love to hear!

I had hoped to add 1,000 words in my manuscript ("Protecting the Poor"). Instead, I got 849 (why didn't I calculate that before-hand and write just one more? Anyone else do that?). And, no research for the week. In fact, I returned the library book that I was in the middle of reading, just because I don't see much research time coming up soon. :P

One last update, for those who don't follow me on social media.

From Thursday:

I should be writing. I should be studying. I should be doing many of the things on my to-do list. But sometimes, when my day is busier, all I really need is a little time with the piano. Because so often, time with my piano means time reflecting on beautiful truths and reminders of my Lord and Savior. So maybe, I just really should be on the piano. 

What do you do to refocus?

Monday, March 26, 2018

Scripture Graphics #84

And the LORD said unto Moses, Fear him not: for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people, and his land; and thou shalt do to him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon. (Numbers 21:34)
Even though Israel’s sin and disobedience led them to the forty years’ wander, God still used this time to prove His power through them to conquer the enemy.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
When we think of pleasing God, our minds always go to works. If we try hard enough, we’ll please God. If we do this or that, we’ll please God. But what about having faith—or seeking Him? These don’t seem to be the “big things” to us, yet such pleases God. Do we truly want to please God or just appease our conscience?

When we’re tempted to focus on our problems, it helps to remember what Jesus went through. Others may wrong me—but I wrong Jesus, and how does He treat me? With forgiveness, mercy, and grace. Others may demand my time and help-how often do I go to Jesus for the same? He gives unconditionally, in love, not begrudging. People may do things against my will—Jesus surrendered His will so that I could have salvation. Remembering all that Jesus is, has done, and is doing puts a new perspective on life and my little problems that I face.

"Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul." Psalm 94:17-19

What verses do you cling to for help?

Friday, March 23, 2018

Count it All Joy | AudioBook Review

I didn’t realize when I began this book (listening to it audio-version) that it is a study on the book of Philippians. Wow. Dr. Jeremiah covers so much material in this book and it is well worth the reading (or listening to).

At this point in my life, I really needed the reminders in Philippians, and Dr. Jeremiah used many illustrations that really drove the points home. He goes from church members’ responsibilities to individuals’ lifestyles to our attitude and focus to suffering and more. Most of this is very practical, down-to-earth, and everyday-applicable. I now want to get the paperback form to have on my shelves.

He uses a few various versions of the Bible, which I prefer KJV, but it didn’t alter the doctrine of the book at all.

I highly recommend this for Christians who are finding themselves in a rut of life and need a bit of encouragement and direction. There is a big emphasis on joy (given the title), especially in the midst of suffering—no matter what that suffering is.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Night, Night, Jungle | Book Review

Yet another cute children’s book! The reader takes a journey into the jungle and explores the various animals, drawn in brilliant colors. A catchy verse of poetry accompanied each page as you say goodnight to lemurs, Jaguars, toucans, chameleons, monkeys, parrots, frogs, and sloths. I appreciated a small touch of expectancy as when one animal was featured, the next animal was peeking out somewhere.

There are two references that make this a Christian book: the first is thanking God for food, the second is about God’s creatures and Him loving them all. It flows well and is a nice little touch.

This is the perfect night-time book for children. I’m happy to have it on my shelves!

*I received this book from Book Look Bloggers and happily provided my honest review*

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Leviathan Art, Protecting the Poor Progress...

Yes, it feels like it has been ages since I've been able to sit down to write, when in truth, it had only been about a week's break. Last week, I was able to reach my 1,000 word goal in "Protecting the Poor!" I am still working on rewriting the beginning to strengthen the plot and characters' goals before I finalize the ending. I didn't get any research reading in, but this week looks a little less busy, so I may be able to do so this week.

Also, last week, my young artist friend gave me the first picture to go into "Quest for Leviathan!" Here's a sneak-peek. It's quite amazing!! :D

Also with writing, I had writing day #2 of the year at our house. Do you ever have those days when you're sitting down to write, and that was the last thing you feel like doing? Yeah, that was me on Thursday. I was able to get about 200 words in--during the three hours we had set aside. :P But, on the bright side, I replied to everyone's comments here on the blog (if you commented in the last three months, go back and check ;) ) and got the writing assignment up on Wordquill.

And THEN!!!!!!

For about two years, my cousin has been trying to get me down to Louisiana on a certain weekend to go with her to a library book sale (it's a building specifically for this, and they open it every month). At long last, our weekends worked out, and I was able to go.

This place is dangerous, guys! 

No, those are not all for me. I promise!! I did manage to keep about half of them and the others went to my sisters and some are for reselling. 

Here is one of my favorite finds: 

And yes, I did find room on my bookshelves for all of the new books I have. ;) I just may need to do some arranging before I get any more books...

How was your week last week?
Is there any way that I can be praying for you?

Oh, and before I forget...
This week's goals...
- Write 1,000 words
- Read 10 pages research

Do you have goals for this week?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Scripture Graphics #83

Following God has never been doing the same thing over and over. The apostles tried to go various places in which “the Spirit suffered them not” (Acts 16:7). God may keep us in one place, ministering in one way for years or just a few months—this is why we must daily seek His direction.

Do we extend to others even half of the goodness that God has extended to us?

And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: (Numbers 14:20-23)
And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:18-19)
Unbelief is a powerful thing with powerful consequences. At no time will God allow our unbelief to mar His glory.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Christian Paperback Sale!

Once again, I'm joining up with a few Christian authors with a paperback sale! Several of these are authors that I have--and have reviewed on this blog! If you've been waiting to read some of their work, this may be a great time to start. ;)

Usually I have way more personalization than this, but life is busy, so for now, I'm just gonna slip you the titles, authors, prices, and links. It's all quite self-explanatory. 

Christian Paperback Sale!
March 16-18, 2018

Title: Dandelion Dust
Author: Faith Potts
Price: $5.99 (40% off)

Title: Journey to Love
Author: Amanda Tero
Price: $7.99 (11% off)

Title: Befriending the Beast
Author: Amanda Tero
Price: $6.99 (11% off)

Title: The Secret Slipper
Author: Amanda Tero
Price $7.99 (11% off)

Title: Promise's Prayer
Author: Erika Mathews
Sale Price: 35% off! $8.42+shipping (regular $12.95)

Title: A Very Present Help

Author: Sharon K. Connell
Sale Price: $12.25 (normal $14.99)

Title: His Perfect Love
Author: Sharon K. Connell
Sale Price: $12.25 (normal $14.99)

Title: The Dressmaker’s Secret
Author: Kellyn Roth
Sale Price: $8.99 w/free shipping (regular $12.99)

Title: A Mighty Fortress
Author: Faith Blum
Price: $10 and free shipping

Title: Be Thou My Vision
Author: Faith Blum
Price: $10 and free shipping

Title: Amazing Grace
Author: Faith Blum
Price: $12 and free shipping


Title: Lily of the Valley
Author: Faith Blum
Price: $15 and free shipping


Title: The Solid Rock
Author: Faith Blum
Price: $14 and free shipping

Title: Hymns of the West Series (5 books)
Author: Faith Blum
Price: $55 and free shipping

Title: Savior, Like a Shepherd
Author: Faith Blum
Price: $10 and free shipping

Title: All the Way My Savior Leads
Author: Faith Blum
Price: $10 and free shipping

Title: He Hideth My Soul
Author: Faith Blum
Price: $10 and free shipping

Title: Orphans of the West Series (3 books)
Author: Faith Blum
Price: $25 and free shipping

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Proverbs Management Handbook | Book Review

Having recently begun reading through the Proverbs on a regular basis, and owning a few businesses, I was very eager to see what Mr. Guderian had to say.

There are a lot of verses referenced—I’d guesstimate that a good 1/3 of this book is quotes from Proverbs. I really like this aspect of the book; I always appreciate the use of God’s Word in books. I will mention that several different Bible translations were used. Though I prefer King James, reading books with various translations doesn’t usually bother me. This one kind of did, because he seemed to treat the translations as “this one represents what I want to say best, so we’ll use this one.” That seemed to be manipulating the use of God’s Word a little, too me, and some of the verses seemed to be stretched to fit into his agenda.

In some ways, sticking only to Proverbs limited the depth of this book. There are many other verses with valuable help on stewardship, financial wisdom, and giving, but because he stuck solely to Proverbs, these verses weren’t included.

The organizational structure didn’t really click with me. He had good things to say, but many times, it seemed a little stiff (e.g. a verse was quoted then a 1-2 sentence thought shared). And a few of the concepts were repeated throughout the book. Personally, I would have enjoyed it more in a different format, as the presentation itself hindered my flow in reading it.

However, this book did contain a lot of helpful nuggets with real-life examples and scenarios. I can see where it could help a lot of people in the business world—both as employers and employees.

*I received this book from Book Crash and happily provided my honest review*

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Writing Day #2

It's Writing Day at my house again! I'm hoping to be able to get some writing in. But before that, I had to do a little prep work. I try to do a simple assignment for my writing friends who meet up with me, and meanwhile, I share those assignments on Wordquill.

Today's assignment is Exploring Three POVs, which you can view here.

I say it in the post, but I'll repeat here: if you actually do the exercise, I would really like to hear your results! Either comment here or on Wordquill or email me directly at

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Hopping in Briefly...

So, I completely skipped last week. But the week prior, I got all of my goals (plus!) accomplished. Last week, life got crazy and I didn't write at all. This week is still going crazy, but I'm hoping for at least 1,000 words written. I would say some research reading as well, but that all depends.

Just a teeny, tiny post, in case you were wondering if I disappeared. Yes, I kind of have. ;)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Scripture Graphics #82

Do we often think on why God saved us, why Jesus died for us? To view salvation merely as “fire insurance” is to prove our ignorance of God. Jesus died to redeem us, but added to that, He died for our sanctification.

Succour (boethes) – to aid or relieve
When someone has faced something and been victorious over it, that’s someone I want to help me. Jesus knows what temptation is like, and He is ready to help us be victorious over it.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

How often do we truly apply this verse against ourselves? Do we really believe God’s Word is quick (alive) and powerful TO CHANGE US? Do we believe it will acutely divide between soul/spirit and joints/marrow? That it will discern the thoughts and intents of our heart? With this knowledge, do we then avoid it? Or do we lay open our hearts before this operation of God’s Word—realizing that when He is finished, we will be a cleaner, more useable vessel?

It is amazing to think on what Jesus, the Son of God, suffered. He suffered human limitations, weariness, and sorrow. From others, He suffered rejection, envy, and unbelief. And this does not even touch what He suffered on the cross. He is Creator God, Lord of the Universe, and He suffered—yet learned obedience. What audacity do we have that, when we suffer, we then blame God and act as though we deserve better than His Son did while on earth?

What verses about Jesus Christ help you today?

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Sibley Postcards | Review

When I saw these painted postcards come up for review, I was excited. Not only are postcards convenient to have on hand, having a variety of them is also fun. There are fifty postcards in this set, printed on sturdy paper. The backs of these postcards are blank, which gives enough room for a nice message and address--that is, if you want to send them, and not just keep them for collection/decoration. They are truly beautiful drawings, organized into five groups: waterfowl, woodpecker, wading birds, songbirds, and owls and raptors.

*I received this from Blogging for Books and happily provided my honest review*

Friday, March 9, 2018

Every Day With Jesus | Review

I have enjoyed the adult devotional books by Charles Stanley, so when I saw this children’s daily devotional available, my interest was piqued.

The book is sturdy, colorful, and attractive. There is one short devotional per page that takes less than five minutes to read.

Each devotional begins with a verse, gives practical application, then ends with a one-sentence prayer and challenge for the day. The devotional covers topics such as trusting God, forgiving others, reading the Bible, believing God, doing the right thing, and more. It is written in a way that is very easy for children to understand.

Personally, I find the devotionals best suited for children 3-5. However, they could very easily be expounded on for children a little older, and lead the way to have good discussion about what various verses and commands mean.

The Scripture verses used are primarily from the International Children’s Bible, and I prefer to stick to the King James (yes, even for children). From the devotions I read, it would be easy to read the verse from my own Bible and the lesson still apply.

*I received this book from Book Look Bloggers and happily provided my honest review*
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